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Mall@Carnival revamp hits all the right notes for consumers

Posted On Friday, 18 March 2016 15:09 Published by
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It might be mid-week and days after month-end, but the buzz at the sprawling Mall@Carnival as shoppers stream in from across Ekurhuleni and beyond is unmistakable.

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Fun seekers turn to Ster Kinekor’s popular movie house. Local and foreign stores and other enterprises jostle for customers’ attention. In turn, consumers, straddling different income brackets, relish the convenience that this ever-growing one-stop shopping set-up offers.

“It’s so interesting how (this mall) is becoming a little town because we have everything here,” Mall@Carnivall marketing co-ordinator Shiley McPherson says, noting a variety of tenants – building material, clothing, health product enterprises and restaurants, among others. Satisfaction levels are high and demand continues to soar, she adds.

Such demand has propelled the Anaprop-managed mall, said to be “the gateway to the East Rand node” for Mpumalanga, to the third phase that has transformed it into a super-regional shopping centre. That is a first in this part of Ekurhuleni.

The R180-million expansion of the Acsion-held mall located in Brakpan, and across Carnival City, lifted trading space to a huge 87000m². Footfall remains on an upward trajectory since the mall was re-launched in October 2015, says McPherson. She pegs the January month-on-month growth at 16% – a function of a spruced up and enlarged mall. It’s a matter of time before footfall exceeds 1 million per month as shoppers from Boksburg, Brakpan, Benoni, Germiston and Tsakane – among other catchment areas – continue to vote for convenience with their wallets.

In fact, festive season’s footfall came in at record 1.4 million, explains an obviously elated McPherson. “The place was packed. That was good to see. People parked on pavements.”

Hot on the heels of newcomers like Baby City, Builders Express, Continental Linen and Toy Zone, Makro is due to launch its reportedly largest outlet in the area next month, notes centre manager Sandy Turner. For Acsion director of subsidiaries Dimitri Thomas, the new arrival “will spur an increase (in) the development of the commercial node along the Heidelberg-Snake road corridor, and ultimately result in the strengthening of the Mall@Carnival retail node”.

The mall has come a long way since it first launched as a 29000m² centre a decade ago, Turner observes in an interview with eProperty News. The second phase turned it into a regional shopping centre of 72,000 m² in 2011, bringing with it full-sized health products retailer Dischem, mass discount retailer Game, grocer Checkers Hyper and Ster-Kinekor cinemas.

The latest phase, which puts this shopping centre in the league of Tyger Valley, was completed six months ago. Mall@Carnivall added about 15000m² trading space, lifting the number of stores to nearly 230. Financial services tenants include all major banks as well as African Bank and Capitec.

An array of food outlets, including Mugg & Bean, Cappuccinos, Chicken Licken, Sausage Saloon and Wimpy, underscore a strong residential market (that includes Benoni, Brakpan and Boksburg’s Sunward Park). Debonairs, Delhi Delicious, Fish & Chips Co and Nando’s also make the menu. “All our food outlets are actually spread throughout the mall,” says McPherson. “We don’t have a food court but it’s part of the plan for Phase IV. We hope it’ll be all done in a year or two.”

Thomas explains that the group, focused on increasing the size of some of its existing major retailers to offer a deeper range of products to its customers, is investigating additional expansion to incorporate new retail and entertainment offerings.

In the meantime, Hi-Fi Corp and Musica remain hits for discerning music lovers. Also present are majors like Checkers Hyper, Edgars, Pick n Pay and Woolworths – listed among the mall’s anchor tenants. Australian fashion retailer Cotton On has also set up here as has West Pack Lifestyle. Also in the mix on the clothing front are local icons like Identity, Markham, Miladys, Mr Price and Totalsports.

It’s just after 1pm on a curiously sweltering Thursday for this time of the year when eProperty News visits the mall to discover that many of the food outlets are teeming with shoppers popping in for lunch or a quick grub. Some, it seems, are here for meetings over coffee. Free parking, is an advantage, notes Turner, an industry veteran with just shy of 20 years of industry experience.

“Free parking is a big plus for us and a way (for the landlord) of giving something to the community,” she says. “This is one of a few malls to offer free parking.” She and her team also do their best to nurture tenant relations.

Also counting in the mall’s favour are its trading hours, McPherson adds, noting that it is open from 9am to 7pm (or 8pm on Fridays) on weekdays and for slightly fewer hours on weekends. Far, from resting on its laurels Acsion – awake to the looming competition in the form of Springs Mall – and centre management are working on improving customer experience which would, in turn, take care of the rest.

Last modified on Friday, 18 March 2016 17:01
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